The Old Curiosity Shop

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The novel was enormously popular in its day but in a later age was scorned for its unabashed sentimentality. Little Nell dies before Kit and the Single Gentleman arrive, and her brokenhearted grandfather dies days later. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles.

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Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. See Article History. This article was most recently revised and updated by Kathleen Kuiper , Senior Editor. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Little Nell. Charles Dickens , English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian era.

BBC Radio 4 Extra - Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, Episode 1

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Contact our editors with your feedback. Edit Mode. For Nell, all she wants is a peaceful existence with enough to subsist on. They come across many interesting people in their travels and are often met with the kindness of strangers. Yet, underneath an animated and colorful world, they also encounter the bleak reality of the industrial age. There is honest Kit, who finds himself the victim of spite of people he never harmed.

Kit desires to help Nell, whoM he worships as a personal angel that has always inspired the best in him. The mysterious Bevis Marks, who is a generous patron to some and an enemy to others, also has his own reasons for finding Nell and her grandfather. Unique to this book, unlike Dickens other works, is a fairy tale quality to the story. It is certainly a book of contrasts: the purity of Nell compared to the sadistic depravity of Quilp, fresh air and scenic villages to the polluted, stone covered city, etc.

At first, Nell Trent was praised as the most perfect Dickens character. Later, she was ridiculed and criticized by many well-known people like Oscar Wilde. The Old Curiosity Shop was inspired by a personal tragedy in Dickens life. Nell Trent is based on the seventeen year old sister-in-law of Dickens who lived with him and whom he was fond of. The girl collapsed and died suddenly after the family had come home from the theater, probably due to undiagnosed heart disease. As to be expected of a Dickens novel, there is social commentary on the plight of the poor.

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Help us introduce it to others by writing a better introduction for it. It's quick and easy, click here. I enjoyed this essay on the above book and found it helpful for a book discussion. I blush to say i have not read "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" so this comparison may not be accurate, but after also finding Quilp to be gargoylish, i thought he reminded me of the depictions of Quasimodo Which sent me running to see whether Hunchback pre-dated Old Curiosity Shop.

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It does! My theory is that Dickens was quite aware of Quasimodo, and in some way was making a comment on yet another way that being grotesque might affect someone's reaction to people. In Quilp's case he reacts with bravado and by making himself even more inhuman, while i think Quasimodo reacted by hiding. I would love to hear a comment from someone who has actually read Hunchback! I'm too busy reading the entire Dickens' canon to take a detour into Hugo right now.

The Old Curiosity Shop

I thought it interesting that Quilp was compared to a gargoyle by the critic. I personally thought he represented the devil. I think the writer in describing, the death of Little Nell in uncertain terms has tried to glorify death and put forward the theory of people dying young ,whom God loves the most. This goes along with the axioms of Christianity which are not in vogue now. The character of the grandfather of little Nell is the perfect antidote to her character. Howver, the author has failed to understand the metaphors of Kit explaining the death of Nell to his kids and the references to his kids who have been given names as per some characters visited by us in the novel.

The Old Curiosity Shop rules! It is my most treasure of literary works!